TODAY   |  August 05, 2010

Author dishes on ‘Dark Life’

Author Kate Falls chats with the kids of Al Roker’s Book Club about her look into the future and humans’ new subsea life.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> forget the day i read a book

>> this morning on "al's book club for kids" dark light . imagine a world where rising oceans forced humans to live in crowded stack cities. the only ones with space are pioneers who move to the ocean's floor. that's where we meet ty and jenna as they venture through the rough underworld learning dark secrets along the way. cat falls is the author of " dark light " and with the help of scholastic book club we've got our critics, spencer, ava, miles, sabrina and via skype we've got guest critic nicolas . hey, nick.

>> hi. good morning, al. good morning cat.

>> all right. so, cat, this book, it's only been out a few months. already been optioned as a major motion picture by robert zemeckis , not bad. did you ever think it was going to be this big?

>> no, i didn't think about it, actually. i was just trying to get the prose right, get the story good. didn't go there when i was writing.

>> all right we want to get right to our book club critics. spencer, what's your question?

>> well, cat, my question is, why did you make most of the setting take place under water?

>> when i was coming up with the story, i was doing a writing exercise. and i decided i would try and combine my son, who at the time was 11, his three favorite things to read about, and one was pioneer kids. he loved old yeller and stories like that. and he loved the ocean was the other thing. and the third thing was x-men. and we spent a lot of time by oceans, my family, and i grew up in maryland near the ocean. so, that's why. because i love the ocean, also.

>> so you kind of owe this all to your son?

>> i do. who is now 14.

>> all right. ava, what's your question?

>> the way that you describe the subsea lifestyle makes it sound like it could almost be possible. so, do you think that in the future living under water could be a real-life scenario?

>> i think that would be exciting. it's certainly a frontier we haven't explored very much. because i wanted it to be science fiction , and not fantasy, i tried to keep everything in the realm of the possible. and i did a lot of research looking at what scientists and architects thought could possibly exist subsea as a house, and a train station .

>> it's a really cool world you created.

>> good, thanks.

>> let's go to our skype now. we've got nicolas , he's in lake city , minnesota. joining us live via skype . nicolas , how you doing?

>> good.

>> great. what's your question for cat, bud?

>> well, there -- what will the future bring?

>> in book two it's called "riptide" and it follows them. the territory is still not a state and so they're still struggling for independence, and ty is struggling for independence, and gemma is trying to live subsea and it's very difficult. it's not coming naturally for her.

>> who would it come naturally for unless your name was submariner. anyway, let's go to --

>> my question is in the book some of the characters have supernatural powers . now, if you were to have any, what would they be?

>> it's a lot of fun coming up with them. i'm trying to base them on marine life traits, so to pull a marine-like trait i'd like to be able to shock people with an electric charge now and then.

>> that could be useful.

>> that could be good.

>> in certain situations.

>> and finally we've got sabrina. what's your question?

>> hello, miss falls. i really enjoyed your book. i can't wait to see the movie. my question is, putting aside the entertainment value of your book, what would be the ideal moral of the story you would want your readers to walk away with?

>> that's a great question. i was really interested in pioneering spirit. it was, i wanted the boy, ty, to be the quintessential pioneer boy. and also, i think it's such an american thing, pioneers, and it's also what's going to take us into this future that we -- people who think outside the box .

>> the pioneer experience.

>> and are tenacious and won't give up, and yet are adventurous. that is how we're going to solve some of the problems that we're facing in the environment.

>> let's see how our kid critics rated this book on a scale of one to five stars. highest being five. 4 1/2 stars. very good.

>> thank you.

>> cat falls, thank you so much.

>> thank you.

>> if you are between 9 and 12, go to, ask your parents permission, and you could be selected as our next guest critic. our next book is called "ninth ward" by jewel parker rhodes. this is going to be your assignment, guys. ready? thank